Bring out your inner pastry chef and make a cream puff dough, called pâte á choux, and then a luscious cream filling to pipe into the cream puffs. These are also the same basic components that you make for éclairs, but éclairs are usually topped with a sweet icing.
-Lightly sweetened whipped cream flavored with vanilla or a liqueur
Chocolate ice cream topping (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)
How to Make It
Spoon Cream Puff Dough into 10 equal mounds (about 1/4 cup each) about 2 inches apart on two lightly buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheets.
Bake in a 375° regular or convection oven until puffs are golden, 25 to 35 minutes; if baking the sheets at the same time in one oven, switch their positions halfway through. With a wooden skewer, poke each puff in several places, then continue baking until golden brown, dry, and crisp, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Transfer puffs to racks to cool completely.
Slice the top third off each puff. Fill each bottom with 1/2 cup of one of the following: ice cream, Chocolate-Orange Cream, or lightly sweetened whipped cream flavored with vanilla or a liqueur. Cover with tops, and drizzle each puff with 2 to 3 teaspoons chocolate ice cream topping or sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.
You can make the puffs (through step 2) up to 12 hours ahead; wrap airtight and store at room temperature. Freeze to store longer. To use, place puffs (thawed, if frozen) slightly apart on a 12- by 15-inch baking sheet. Bake in a 400° oven until crisp, 5 to 8 minutes.
These tasted great, but I would agree with other reviews - DO NOT POKE THE CREAM PUFFS! I read the reviews and saw that but thought, "Surely they included it in the recipe for a reason." My beautiful puffy puffs deflated immediately when I poked them and never recovered. Other than that, the recipe is great. I used the chocolate-orange cream and everyone LOVED it!
These are beautiful and easier than you'd think. My first batch came out flat -- I felt that poking it with the wooden stick deflated it. The second batch I did not poke and they came out the appropriate shape. It also helps if you put the dough in tall mounds on the pan, if possible. My first batch the dough spread out a little on the pan before I put it in the oven, and I felt that also contributed to the flatness.
I served these with the Chocolate-Orange Cream (delicious) and sliced strawberries inside, then topped the puff with drizzled chocolate sauce, as in the photo. My guests were wowed at the appearance and taste!
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